March 26, 2015

mommy time

I recently saw my doctor for some things that have been going on with me lately. As we discussed motherhood and the overwhelming aspects of dealing with three young children, I confessed to feeling a lot of guilt that I don't spend enough time with my kids. Especially right now, with all the moving and other things going on, I feel like my kids spend way too much time on screens. My doctor gave me some great advice. She told me to have individual "Mommy Time" with my kids every day. That means that every day (and I schedule it during Louisa's nap time so I can really concentrate on each child), each of my boys gets personal time with me to do whatever they choose. She told me to set a timer for 10 minutes and then let the boys choose what they want to do with me (the other child spends those 10 minutes on the iPad while I fully concentrate on them). Mommy time isn't teaching time (i.e. instructing Will on how to write his letters), but just some time to give him my complete attention and play with him like a peer. As I did that, I found myself laughing with William a lot more and getting down on the ground and building a train track with him, just like his friends would do.
This may seem really self-explanatory to some of you (and maybe a few of you are doing a face-palm that I am calling this "great advice") but doing something scheduled like this, for a specific amount of time, was really helpful to me in allowing me to be productive with my time.
The timer allows us to have a designated amount of time that I can keep track of and it also allows my boys to know when the time is up. Miraculously they don't feel upset when I say, "OK, times up! I had a great time with you. Now I have to go do some work while you finish building the Lego tower." It has really helped me to not feel so much guilt. I was feeling guilty that I wasn't spending enough time with them or else I was feeling guilty that certain household chores weren't getting done because I was neglecting that. Using my time wisely is not a talent of mine, so this simple tactic has helped me feel like I'm a little bit more on the ball. I hope that some of you benefit from my doctor's tip too! Do you have any wonderful parenting tips that have impacted your day to day life?

14 comments:

  1. Oh, Lizzie, I love your blog! It is a very bright spot in my life. You are so beautiful (even with out your blow dryer) inside and out! I wish I could be your neighbor and help you through this very busy time. Your children are so blessed to have you and seems to me you do an awesome job of balancing all you have on your sweet plate!

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    1. Oh Noni! I want to hug you. Thank you so much for your kind words!!! XOXO

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  2. I love reading your blog, it's one of my favorites. I always feel uplifted no matter what you write about!

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    1. Thank you Natalie! What a compliment! XO

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  3. That's great advice. You are a WONDERFUL mom instinctively Liz. I can tell whenever I watch you. You are doing a great job..... and you don't have "easy kids." :)

    Your kids are smart, happy and well-adjusted, which is proof that you are a good mom.
    As much as your kids need you and your undivided attention sometimes, they don't need it all the time.... that would be a bad thing. I believe children need to learn to play independently. They know you are there nearby or in the next room but they learn to be confident and enjoy spending time "alone" rather than being dependent on you or playmates. Just like anything else, it's about balance. :)

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    1. Thank you Alice. I needed to hear that. Thank you!!!

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  4. Oh Mama! I wish I could be there to hug you and help you. Alice is right – you are an amazing Mommy! Those kids are going grow up to be wonderful humans and will credit it all back to their lovin' mama :)

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  5. Hi Lizzy -

    I know this was an earlier post but I didn't have time to comment. I just wanted to let you know that I am a faithful reader of your blog. I look forward to your entries and am always excited to read what you are sharing. I find your blog authentic and in the paid blogging world, that is becoming rare. I can tell you are a wonderful Mom and person! I love the entries about your family, cooking, faith, radom musings... basically anything you write. I hope you don't stop blogging. You are also my go to person for recipes! Usually when I receive a cooking compliment, it is from something you suggested on your blog. I don't cook a lot, and my family and I appreciate the good taste of your easy to make recipes.

    Take Care!

    ~ Lizi

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    1. Thank you so much Lizi! I really appreciate you taking the time to comment and for your support! Hugs!

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  6. So I don't know you, but I've thought about this post repeatedly in the last couple of weeks, and just thought I'd comment. I have also really struggled with the mother guilt, and I think you're in a hard spot with not just a newborn, but a couple of moves in quick succession! I really hope that you are getting some time for yourself and that you've made some friends who can not only provide playdates for your kids, but also someone that you can talk to and just get some of the feelings out, you know? I had an absolutely awful time after my fifth was born--I thought I would be fine because I'd done this four times already, but I just fell to pieces. My best friend moved three months before he was born, it was a traumatic labor, and my husband was going through a rough patch at work, and I just fell apart. I think it made it harder for me because I felt like I had to keep up the facade of everything being fine whereas I felt like I was drowning in things that I'd always wanted but were overtaking me with their goodness. I think we talk so much (especially in the church) about how wonderful motherhood is, but we don't talk enough about how hard it is to completely sacrifice yourself. I know we DO talk about the sacrifice, but sometimes I think we gloss it over with that, "Oh, but it's worth it!" and don't spend enough time acknowledging that yes, it IS worth it, but it may take months or years to see that, and sometimes you're just so busy giving and giving that you turn around and realize you've given up everything that previously constituted your identity, and now you're trying to make sense of the fact that you've become this completely different person and you're not quite sure how to live your new life in a way that makes you feel happy and fulfilled as an individual, while also serving as wife and mother.

    So I applaud you for talking to your doctor, and for making a plan to sort things out so that you feel confident about your mothering goals and approach. I think you're an absolutely wonderful mother and you're one of the few blogs I still read. I really love your realistic approach to life and mothering--you work to keep the magic there without going overboard or just giving up and throwing in the towel. Way to be balanced! And if you ever need a total stranger's listening ear, feel free to shoot me an email. :-)

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    1. Rachael, thank you so much for your comment. You hit the nail right on the head! I found myself just nodding over and over again as I read your words. I recently experienced a similar experience to the one you mentioned. The last couple of months have been incredibly difficult. I feel like I finally have a plan to get to a place where I can function again, but the guilt is still a huge part of motherhood. I don't think that ever goes away, but I do feel like I am doing my part now to be better. Thank you so much for your support and love! XOXO

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  7. Lizzy,
    I am Brazilian, so sorry my English.
    I love your blog and have always enjoyed as it is creative and inspiring. His words touched me, because I think you're a wonderful mother and an example. I'm only 19 and I am not married and have no children, but when I'm a mother I want to be like you. Thank you for your words and example.

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